By Joe Rector

Soooo, what are you spending your time on these days? Most of us have plenty of it; in fact, some folks declare that they have too much time on their hands. I’ve learned to deal with my idle hours with several different ways, and thus far, I’m not suffering with boredom.

My brother Jim and I have tackled projects that have been on the back burners for a while. We put in paver stones at his house. He and wife Brenda completed half of them, and then we finished the rest. In case you’re wondering, the answer is “yes.” He and Brenda finished their part of the project without screaming, murdering, or divorcing. The two of us managed to work without any arguments or harsh words, something that doesn’t always happen.

We also removed the siding from his out-building, replaced a huge section of rotted plywood, removed a window, and replace the siding. I’d dreaded the chore because, to be honest, I’ve tackled too many jobs of a similar nature that went sideways. The best thing about the finished project this time was nothing looked different.

Warm weather has brought welcome relief from constant rain. I’ve been able to spray weed killer, mow, trim shrubs, weed eat, and spread mulch (with Jim’s help). We opened the pool the first of the month, and I jumped in to make it official, although my time in the water was measured in seconds. Sitting on the deck in the evenings is a welcome way to end the day and provides some time out of the house.

Jobs that were once things to put off are now welcome distractions. I’ve kept the house somewhat clean and have run the vacuum more often than usual. All the closets, except for Amy’s, have been emptied and straightened up. Boxes for items from ten years ago filled the garbage, and now those spaces are bursting at the seams. My out-building was crammed with pool furniture and things we’d moved when new flooring was laid in December. After a few hours, I could move without struggling to find a path in the place.

Chunks of my time during the last weeks have been spent watching the news. This killer virus has shaken our world in a way nothing else has. The daily reports of increasing confirmed cases and deaths scare all of us. The mixed messages about the safety of going out or adequate supplies for hospitals and healthcare workers or safe medicines to use confounds us all. The professionals are struggling to keep us updated, but sometimes others offer contradictory statements. After watching, folks aren’t sure what to do. I listen to briefings and shake my head in disgust because it seems that the most powerful, blessed country in the world is simply unable to take care of its citizens.

I’ve also watched the political situations that have occurred. We now know that in November Biden and Trump will vie for the presidency. Of course, serious questions about voting procedures are now facing leaders. I’ve hoped that the money designated to help small business and individuals would arrive promptly, but indications are that the government has failed to get checks to those most in need.  At some point each day, I no longer can listen to the jumbled state-of-affairs, and that’s when the re-runs begin. At this point, I can name every officer who has ever appeared on “PD Live” and know all the punchlines from every episode of “Two and a Half Men.”

I’ve left the house some. Trips to the grocery store or Home Depot have been made. I also have driven to Jim’s house when we worked together. However, most of my time has been spent at home, and I hope that all of you are also practicing “social distancing.” The truth is that if we don’t do that, we might never return to the lives we once knew. Try to breathe, accept the situation, and enjoy the free time. It will be gone before you know it.